Westlaw Journal weekly round-up

December 4, 2012

Westlaw Journals Weekly RoundupThe new Westlaw Journals blog brings you litigation headlines in over 30 substantive areas of law.  Here are some highlights from the past week:

Soldiers awarded $85 million for toxic exposure in Iraq:  A federal jury in Oregon has awarded $85 million to 12 National Guard soldiers, finding that military contractor KBR Inc. exposed them to known cancer-causing chemicals while they were guarding the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in Iraq in 2003.  Each soldier was awarded $850,000 in non-economic damages and $6.25 million in punitive damages by the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon jury.  “This verdict is an important step toward obtaining justice for the U.S. and British military personnel who face serious health problems and uncertainty because of KBR’s negligence at Qarmat Ali,” said attorney Michael Patrick Doyle of the Houston law firm Doyle Raizner in a Nov. 2 statement.  Doyle was one of the attorneys representing the National Guard soldiers exposed to the carcinogen hexavalent chromium at the plant.  (Toxic Torts)

Downsize director shield, law professor tells Delaware bar:  The business-judgment-rule shield has grown so big and deferential to directors that it tips the balance of corporate power away from shareholders and lets board members sidestep their fiduciary duty, a law professor warned Delaware’s bench and bar at a Nov. 9 seminar.  Addressing lawyers, judges and academics at the 28th Annual Francis G. Pileggi Distinguished Lecture in Law at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Del., Washington and Lee University law professor Lyman Johnson acknowledged that “it might seem like legal sacrilege” to suggest that a cornerstone of Delaware law like the business judgment rule must be downsized so directors can be held to a higher standard of duty.  (Delaware Corporate Law)

Doctor’s false-claim complaints against Takeda Pharmaceutical tossed:  A Massachusetts federal judge has dismissed two whistle-blower lawsuits filed by a former Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.medical reviewer who alleged the company violated the False Claims Act by failing to accurately report adverse events concerning four of its drugs.  Takeda markets the drugs Actos for diabetes, Uloric for gout, Kapidex/Dexilant for heartburn and Prevacid for acid reflux, according to the opinion.  The suit alleged several life-threatening adverse reactions occurred as a result of the drugs’ interaction with other drugs commonly used by the same patient populations.  Takeda knew about the adverse events but failed to report them to the Food and Drug Administration or change the package insert warnings, the suit said.  The Takeda contractor who filed the suits, however, failed to plead her allegations with the particularity required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b), U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV of the District of Massachusetts said.   (Health Care Fraud)